What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Vision becomes blurry and colors lose their brilliance. Driving at night can also become difficult. Cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness. In fact, cataracts are so common it’s said that nearly everyone will develop a cataract if they live long enough.
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, but may also be more prevalent because of family history, medical problems such as diabetes, medications such as steroids, radiation, long-term unprotected sun exposure, or previous eye surgeries. A cataract may also develop following an injury to the eye or surgery for another eye problem, such as glaucoma. Usually, cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other.
Some describe having cataracts similar to looking out through a frosted or glazed window. Because cataracts form gradually, symptoms may go unnoticed, but please be sure to contact us for an appointment if you experience one of the following:
- Painless blurring of vision
- Glare, or light sensitivity
- Poor night vision
- Double vision in one eye
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Needing brighter light to read
The symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses. But left untreated, cataracts could eventually lead to blindness.
Today, when patients are diagnosed with cataracts many doctors agree that the time to have them treated is when their quality of vision begins to interfere with doing the things they like to do most in life. Thanks to recent advancements in lens implant technology, patients can not only resume doing the things they enjoy most in life, they now have the possibility of seeing like they did when they were much younger, before they became dependent on reading glasses.
The only treatment for a cataract is to have the clouded natural lens removed and replaced with an implantable IntraOcular Lens, commonly referred to as an IOL. Surgery to remove cataracts is a safe and commonly performed, same day – outpatient procedure. In fact, over 15 million lens implant procedures are performed every year worldwide.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery performed in the United States today. Approximately 90 percent of cataract surgery patients report better vision following the surgery.
What to Expect
Cataract development varies, but most progress gradually over a period of years, going unnoticed. Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed and is truly only necessary when it impedes on your daily lifestyle. There are no foods or medications to prevent or cure cataracts. However, using protective sunglasses may slow its progression. With careful evaluation, Dr. Watkins can detect cataracts, determine the true cause of your symptoms, and whether or not cataract surgery is the right choice for you and your vision.
If cataracts are diagnosed, and surgery is recommended, Dr. Watkins and his staff will give you a detailed overview of what to expect and can respond to any further questions or concerns. You will have a few lens options to choose from depending on what works best for your lifestyle. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home after surgery is complete. Dr. Watkins will see you the following day to make sure your eye is healing and recovering properly. Healing and recovery time varies from patient to patient. Some people can return to their usual activities the following day, but Dr. Watkins will see you continually to ensure a full recovery and recommend surgery for your second eye if it’s necessary.
Lens Replacement Options
Standard Monofocal IntraOcular Lens
- Provides distance vision only.
- Patients are required to wear glasses for all near vision, as well as some intermediate tasks.
- Insurance companies will include this conventional lens in the cost of the surgery.
- Perfect for patients who have gotten used to wearing reading glasses, and are comfortable with continuing to do so.
Multifocal Intraocular Lens
- Provides 5 focusing zones for a full range of vision.
- Greatly decreases your need for glasses at a distance, intermediate, and near vision.
- Most patients who receive the multifocal IOL find that they rarely use their glasses.
- All insurance companies find this lens to be above and beyond the “standard level of care” Therefore, there is an additional cost for the lens. The cost for the lens is $3,200 per eye which is NOT covered under insurance and is the patient’s responsibility. If any additional laser treatment is needed to fine-tune your vision after surgery, it is included in the cost.
Please click the link below to take our Cataract Self-Test